What are Garden Cold Frames

Cold frames

are employed to offer a comfortable, warm environment for delicate plants through the winter months in cold regions. They are relatively inexpensive and simple structures. Heat or the warmth of the sun is trapped by the frame made of either glass, plastic sheeting or Plexiglas. This article give some information on cold frames.

The Principle:

A cold frame works as a miniature greenhouse season extension device. The transparent top of the frame allows the sunlight to come into the enclosure and prevents heat escape via convection. Thus the heat is retained for a longer time. Basic function of cold frame is to provide a insulated, warm, protected place that is used to prepare seedlings sowed indoors for the early spring or fall conditions outside.

Steps for the Construction of a Cold Frame:

  • First step is the location. Select the place where there is ample amount of sunlight each day. A shady spot cannot help in this regard.
  • A simple plan to construct a cold frame is: a wooden frame is built 30 cms or one to two foot high. The window is placed on the top whose roof is sloped towards the sun as this enhances the capture of the light. This also helps to runoff the water. This window is hinged at the ends for easy access.
  • The dimensions of the frame however depend on the size of the window you like to use.
  • Good quality heavy duty hinges are ideal to construct a longlasting cold frames.
  • While choosing wood for the frames make sure that the wood is strong enough and do not decompose with time. Cypress and cedar can be used comfortably for constructing wood frames. Now-a-days cold frames are also constructed using aluminium frames.

A typical Cold frame looks as follows:


Advantages of Cold Frames:

With a simple equipment like cold frame plants can draw all the advantages of greenhouse. They use no artificial source of heat, but depends on the sun. They are not only


but are very useful in creating supplemental growing space for big projects. Removable glass can be kept open to be a vent when there is overheating.

Cold frames

shelter the plants

from wind and provide about 5 degrees of air and soil temperature insulation. By using cold frames the gardener can raise a huge variety of crops from the seeds which need greenhouse effect which will be very expensive if grown outside. Some of the plants suitable for growing in a cold frame are lettuces, carrots, salad onions, radishes, turnips, spinach etc.

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